Too much thinking is dangerous.

Intrepid Wheelwoman

New Member
Oct 29, 2011
2,831
5
0
Hauraki District, New Zealand
I went for a ride on my 1950 English Hercules this afternoon. It was a very pleasant Spring day (I live in New Zealand), not too warm for riding, - just nice really. Since I was still a wee bit fatigued from being unwell for the past two days I just puddled along in 1st gear on the Sturmey Archer hub, but on arriving back home I found myself having to have a wee lie down with a nice cup of tea because I was feeling exhausted again.
Now with my 1950 Hercules being totally original and unrestored any thought of motorising it is something that I've never considered for a moment. But as I sipped my cup of green tea I found myself wondering, 'What about a Wall Autowheel?'
Now obviously I'm not talking about the real thing; - There is one on ebay at the moment for 6,000 pounds sterling! :eek: And as my household budget won't stretch that far I shall instead resort to the contents of all those boxes I have stacked in shaky piles in my garage.

By the way the lovely old bicycle in the photos is a Humber, but it is very close to being the same as my Hercules in general size and proportions. I thought I'd post a period Wall newspaper advert as well with a nice picture of an intrepid wheelwoman as well as a rather terrific full colour Wall advert featuring a very intrepid wheelwoman indeed!
My children tell me I'd look silly wearing a laurel wreath in my hair while out bicycling and have told me that I'm strictly forbidden to do it or they'll never speak to me again, (sigh)

Plainly an elderly looking engine would be essential for such a project so for me that would mean a Villiers of which I have several in various states of completeness and disrepair. The wheel would need to have at least a Westwood type rim in order to look the part and I seem to remember that I do have some 20inch rims of that type. A 16inch wheel from an elderly Autocycle might be better and I seem to remember that I have at least one of those.
The rest would be made from ordinary steel tubing & etc which should be a simple enough exercise.
 

Attachments

Intrepid Wheelwoman

New Member
Oct 29, 2011
2,831
5
0
Hauraki District, New Zealand
I have just returned from riding my Hercules bicycle in the cool of a lovely Spring evening and I find that my thinking processes have been much energised as a result. The original Wall engine was a four stroke and I find myself wondering if it would be possible to fabricate an 'F' head type head and barrel to fit on a Villiers crankcase.
The inlet over exhaust layout lends itself very well to such a conversion, - especially if an 'automatic' inlet valve is used. All that would be needed is a double lobe cam on the crankshaft to operate the exhaust valve, - which would do away with the need for timing gears.

Certainly this is something I'm not planning to rush into. To start with a standard Villiers engine would be used and the necessary conversion parts made at a later stage.
 

Attachments

rustycase

Gutter Rider
May 26, 2011
2,746
0
0
Left coast
If you can find the Bud Fab video he shows how he built a 1 cylinder atmospheric intake valved engine using a honda crankcase with a vw cylinder and head.
It's very much as you describe.
Have fun!
rc
 

2door

Moderator
Staff member
Sep 15, 2008
16,326
124
63
Littleton, Colorado
Very cool project. I hope you do it and keep us informed.
That would be a traffic stopper, especially with the laurel wreath.

Tom
 

Intrepid Wheelwoman

New Member
Oct 29, 2011
2,831
5
0
Hauraki District, New Zealand
Green tea is very good for you caduceus. Apart from the fact that I like it it's also a very good system cleanser and is chock full of antioxidants. I started drinking it back when I was still working as a social worker and quite a few of the staff I worked with were of Chinese descent. I find that it does help with my CFS/ME symptoms too which is a real bonus.

My children have forbidden me to wear anything like laurel wreaths or classical long flowing Greek gowns Tom


I really do want to do this Tom. I love these old English ladies bicycles and the way they glide along on the road with their 28inch wheels. I own a modern (that is 1970s) ladies 10 speed bike that's all original and tricked out with 1970s accessories, but I hardly ever ride it because it's not a patch on my 1950 Hercules in terms of handling and general good road manners.

The Villiers engine I'm planning to wear is one of these SB.....
I have a complete runner with an original Villiers petrol tank, it will need some tidying up, but not much else doing to it to set it up for this project.
 

Attachments

Intrepid Wheelwoman

New Member
Oct 29, 2011
2,831
5
0
Hauraki District, New Zealand
That engine will be perfect. I believe it is also 98CC, the same as the slant fin. Carburetor looks the same, too. How will you start that?
SB
SB I intend to drive the wheel directly without a clutch just the same as the original Wall, but I will need to devise a suitable decompressor valve in order to do that. The sketch in my head tells me that it should be a straight forward piece of lathework, but a certain amount of experimentation might be in order.
 

Intrepid Wheelwoman

New Member
Oct 29, 2011
2,831
5
0
Hauraki District, New Zealand
The way I thought I'd approach building up the motorwheel frame is to cut out the chainstay from a heavyweight bicycle frame retaining the bottom bracket assembly so that I essentially have what looks like a swing arm.
Normally I would never take a hacksaw to a heavyweight English bicycle frame, but in this case I have a Raleigh frame that was involved in an accident (Not me!) and the top tube is badly twisted. (I kept because it has lovely original transfers/decals and pinstriping).

Wall seem to have varied the design of their mounting frame over the years, but the one I'm interested in is the later one with the rounded tubular end to the frame. These photos I've found show an extremely distinguished 1913 one that had plainly given of long and hard service judging by the brazing repair on the top of the cylinder casing.

I have a badly twisted Rudge frame as well that some Neanderthal at the council tip ran over with his bulldozer and I think with the aid of some sections of the Rudge frame as well as the Raleigh chain stays I should be able to make a reasonable copy of the Wall wheel frame. Anyway we shall see..... :)

I must find out if the local hire centre will let me have a gas welding set for an afternoon as I would really prefer to braze these parts together.
 

Attachments

silverbear

The Boy Who Never Grew Up
Jul 9, 2009
8,191
49
38
northeastern Minnesota
Intrepid,
Neat project. I like things that are different. Way back when there were so many different approaches to motoring a bicycle down the road. As originally designed the unit could theoretically bolt up to any number of different bicycles, is that right?

Was just thinking that a person could build a sidecar on a frame that was essentially what you have above... the sidecar would power the bicycle and also give room for cargo...yes? Yet it would leave the bicycle virtually unchanged, could be unbolted and off you go pedaling.

Wait til Fasteddy gets out of the hospital and sees this. I can already imagine that he will be thinking of two versions of the power wheel... one for Canada being an electric wheel motor and the other gas for the U.S.... convertible. So many possibilities.

What you're doing is an interesting idea... and I'll bet that somebody in the future comes up with an electric commercial version already put together (without a real sidecar, but perhaps a wire basket above the fender for groceries and such or a folding version against the side) and which you simply attach to your bicycle. There might be some sort of carrier for the batteries down low where the gas motor is on your vintage version or to the inside of the wheel. What a fun project!
SB
 

Intrepid Wheelwoman

New Member
Oct 29, 2011
2,831
5
0
Hauraki District, New Zealand
That was one of the things that attracted me to the motorwheel SB, - the fact that it could be taken off one bicycle or lightweight vehicle and used with another with only a little basic spannering needed. I own a number of elderly bicycles and a vintage tribute motorwheel could be very easily shared amongst all of them.

An electric motorwheel is very possible and the ideal place for the batteries is where the original gas engine was fitted because that's the best spot for traction and maintaining a low centre of gravity. BUT don't get me wanting to rush off in that direction SB, - or at least not until I've got this one finished :)
 

Attachments

Dan

Staff
Staff member
May 25, 2008
12,775
106
48
55
Moosylvania
Your an amazing builder IWW. First pics of this must include you riding her wearing a laurel wreath.

We won't tell.
 

MEASURE TWICE

Well-Known Member
Jul 13, 2010
2,440
528
113
CA
I searched on Oldbike.eu and was looking to find more on that kind of engine that has a compression cylinder that does not fire and a second firing cylinder in conjunction with it. I would like to know if there is a name for that type of twin cylinder arrangement so I may get a more specific web page to describe how it came about. What advantages does that engine have or reason it is the way it is.

Also seems that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had some interest in promoting the side engine I saw somewhere visiting the website. Very cool, eh kids, whada they know!

MT
 

Intrepid Wheelwoman

New Member
Oct 29, 2011
2,831
5
0
Hauraki District, New Zealand
It's called a 'split single' MT. Very popular in Germany before the war. One day back in my late teens when my brother and I were dumping rubbish at the tip I found a complete 1950s Puch split single motorcycle that was only lacking its petrol tank and I asked my brother if he would help me to load it onto his Holden ute.

He refused! - he said I had enough junk at home already! - and him with the Holden as well as a Ford Fairlane and a 55 Chevy!

Needless to say he got the silent treatment all the way back home and for a few days afterwards.

It was the same colour as the ones in the pictures too :(
 

Attachments

Last edited:

Intrepid Wheelwoman

New Member
Oct 29, 2011
2,831
5
0
Hauraki District, New Zealand
I had a small spot of luck while rummaging around in some boxes at one of the local second hand shops in the township. I was actually looking for a pair of good quality old fashioned tinsnips, - which I did find, - but I also found a horseshoe magnet from a vintage magneto. I would have preferred to have found two, but I'm not complaining as if all else fails I can use the one I've got for a pattern.
The horseshoe magnet is barely magnetic anymore which is fine as it doesn't have to be for the purpose I have in mind.

My plan is to create a fake vintage magneto with a DC cordless drill motor inside it and drive it off the engine so it will work as a dynamo. I'm not expecting that it will produce a particularly large output, but it will at least give the Villiers engine I'm using a more vintage appearance.